Religion debate: Pastor Rick Warren versus atheist Sam Harris

It’s ten pages long so I won’t waste your time with my own commentary. Best line: “So, parse that. God gave you an immigration attorney, but God killed a little girl.” Disturbing runner-up: “If death is the end, shoot, I’m not going to waste another minute being altruistic.”

A Christian friend of mine insists Harris is going to find religion someday because his interest in the subject supposedly betrays a yearning to believe that he won’t be able to resist forever. I find that logic grossly insulting and presumptuous, essentially the theological equivalent of what the left does when it accuses critics of homosexuality of being latently gay themselves, but I confess to having raised an eyebrow at this passage towards the very end:

WARREN: Can you have spirituality without a spirit?

HARRIS: You can feel yourself to be one with the universe.

WARREN: OK, then why can’t you just take the next step? Because right now you’re talking in extremely nonrational terms.

HARRIS: There’s nothing irrational about it. You can close your eyes in meditation and lose the sense of your physical body, totally. Many people draw from that the metaphysical conclusion that “I’m just spirit, and I can transcend the body.” That’s not the only conclusion you have to draw from that experience, and I don’t think it’s the best conclusion.

WARREN: You’re more spiritual than you think. You just don’t want a boss. You don’t want a God who tells you what to do.

Warren ends, incidentally, by invoking Pascal’s wager. Take advantage of a slow Monday morning and dive in.